Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgi similarities and differences

The Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgi are quite unique in the sense that they are the only small canine varieties which can successfully herd cattle without being kicked by cows’ hoofs. At first glance these breed may appear to be identical but it’s sufficient to study their standards a bit in order to recognize their obvious differences.


The Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgi were bred for a similar purpose but in the separate parts of central Europe. The origin of the Cardigan dates back as early as the XI A.C. and it was developed from various dachshunds, herding dogs and heelers in Cardiganshire. On the other hand the Pembroke was invented by Pembrokeshire’s breeders and its ancestors were spitz-like northern dogs.

Weight and size

While both types of Corgi are notable for a well-developed and sturdy constitution, the Cardigan is markedly larger than its congener. Moreover the Cardigan has broader chest, much heavier and powerful body than the Pembroke.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi photo

Cardigan Welsh Corgi ©

The standard of the Cardigan describes the acceptable height of its specimens to be between 26,7 and 31,8 centimeters, its weight should vary from 13,6 to 17,24 kilograms for males and from 11,34 to 15,42 kilograms for females. According to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, the height of high-quality breed members ranges from 25,4 to 30,5 centimeters, the weight shouldn’t exceed 13,6 kilograms for males and 12,7 for females.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi photo
Pembroke Welsh Corgi ©

It’s worth noting that in recent years larger dogs have come into fashion, so the distinction in size between these two breeds is increasingly blurring.

Silhouette and tail

It’s also possible to see the difference between the Cardigan and the Pembroke in the overall shape of their bodies.

The Cardigan is endowed with a fairly elegant back of its trunk with a well-pronounced waistline and low-set tail. The length of its brawny neck should be in harmony with the rest proportions of its body which should comply with such characteristics as «muscular, squat and substantial».
Cardigan Welsh Corgi - body and tail

The Pembroke’s body is curvier and less elongated than the body of its counterpart. Its long neck has a slight arch and it’s attached to a solid straight spine. On the whole it gives the impression of more anatomically correct dog.

As a rule the specimens of the Pembroke are born with docked tails. But Cardigans are the proud owner of a wide tail which is attached fairly low to its back. Perhaps it’s the main feature that distinguishes these two breeds in the eyes of an average dog lover.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi - body and tail


An attentive observer will be able to notice substantial distinctions between two varieties of Corgi in the form of their heads and facial expressions.

The shape of the Pembroke’s head is characterized with a kind of a fox grace. It’s proportionate to other parts of the dog’s physique and highlights its lively, inquisitive and extrovert nature. The breed has very mobile ears which are situated more compact compared to the Cardigan’s ears. Its brown eyes with dark outline colour take the form of an oval and looks a little bit sideways.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi - chest, head, eyes, muzzle

The Cardigan’s muzzle reflects its amicable yet wary attitude to the world. Its large and expressive almond eyes may have a blue or partially blue colouring which is unacceptable for the specimen of the Pembroke. Additionally its ears are larger, more rounded and they are more widely set than the Pembroke’s.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi - chest, head, eyes, muzzle

Front and back sides of trunk

The difference between the Cardigan and Pembroke Corgi will become perfectly evident if you examine these dogs from the front.

The Cardigan possesses well-developed, strong front legs which should be slightly bent outward in order to support its deep and heavy chest. Such an imbalance between two parts of the dog’s body is very functional and helps the dog skillfully traverse mountainous and rough lands of its native Cardiganshire.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi - Front and back sides of trunk

The constitution of the Pembroke lacks any kind of disproportions between front and back sides, its nimble legs with strong muscles enable the dog to move with quite impressive speed. It allows it to successfully drive livestock on a flat terrain in a straight line. The breed has more protruding stomach area than its counterpart.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi- Front and back sides of trunk

Coat and colouring

The hair of both varieties of the Corgi is medium in length and has thick undercoat which protects them from cold weather. Nonetheless the range of acceptable colourings is different for each breed. In particular it’s impossible to find Pembrokes with blue merle or brindle coat patterns which are fairly typical for Cardigans. And contrary to the Pembroke, today it isn’t allowed to mate the specimens of the Cardigan differing by a colouring.


There is a noticeable variance in the temper of these two breeds as well.

The Cardigan displays suspiciousness in the presence of strangers and prefers to carefully evaluate situation before choosing the most appropriate course of action. The Pembroke has more out-going and open character and usually immediately greets a new person as a potential playmate. That’s why the Cardigan makes better guardian and watcher than its more gullible sibling.

In summary the most significant differences between the Cardigan and Pembroke Corgis lie in their sizes, colourings and temperaments. But both types of the Corgi can become wonderful companion animals.


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